With a title like "Chloe Does Yale", you might expect a racy, kicky Gen Y reboot of Sex and the City - you know, younger, leaner, faster, sexier. Instead, Natalie Krinsky serves up a lukewarm novel that steals -er, pays homage to - all the best bits of Sex and the City with none of the zing. Let's see if this sounds familiar- a first person account of a sex columnist in a East Coast city who doesn't have much luck at love. She has a friend who is wild and more experienced at sex, a gay man friend who consoles her in her travails, a conservative friend who loves her, but doesn't quite approve of all her shenanigans...argh, enough already. If you've seen five minutes of Sex and the City, you know where this is headed. She's even got the chutzpah to call her column "Sex and the (Elm) City". Yikes.
As far as narrative goes, it's really banal. A bunch of mundane dating and relationship stuff that has all the tension and surprise of a Golden Girls episode. If I didn't know better, I'd swear this was just a collection of old, previously published, half baked, sophomoric sex column advice strung together with a weak framing device. Oh wait, it is.
Several times throughout the book, the writer obsesses that her writing isn't that good, but her friends keep telling her - 'your column is hilarious', 'no, really! I couldn't stop laughing'. You know you are in trouble when the author has to write a scene where her characters tell her proxy that she can actually write. For a book that's supposed to be sexy, it's stunningly chaste. For a book that's supposed to be funny, it's amazingly sterile. I guess if you are a teenager and haven't really experienced any of the world or been to college, this might amuse you. For my money, it's about as enjoyable as watching Sex and the City on TBS - it goes through the motions, but never gets gritty enough to be any real fun. I really did want to like this book, but I was disappointed. I gave it two stars for the nifty cover, but you can look at that for free. Save your $.
Added on 3/5: Well, I thought it was just me and I might have been too harsh, but it seems like a lot of people had the same reaction to the book. Except, oddly enough, a slew of 4 and 5 star reviews all loving the book that came in on the same day (including two that use the same marketing department approved phrase "chick-lit for the smart girl"). You can believe those if you'd like, but I'd say that's either an amazing coincidence or the author's friends stuffing the ballot box. It's your time and money, spend it how you like.